US conglomerate General Electric is planning to launch an online bank, becoming the latest player to take on Britain's high street financial institutions, according to the Sunday Times.
The firm's GE Capital unit aims to launch the service within the next 18 months, joining the growing ranks of new entrants, such as Metro Bank, Tesco and Virgin, bidding to win custom from high street giants battered by the financial crisis.
However, it would be the first to operate purely online, emulating GE Capital's recently established Internet bank in Germany, called GE Direkt. The firm is looking to enter a number of European countries in a bid to diversify its funding base, according to the paper.
The new operation would see GE enter a direct banking market that includes First Direct, Cahoot, Smile and Egg, which Citi is expected to put up for auction in the near-future.